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Oregon banks continue slide

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

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STATEWIDE In the March issue of Oregon Business we quoted the Beatles in regard to the recent fortunes of Oregon-headquartered banks: “It’s getting better all the time (can’t get much worse).”

Unfortunately, it can always get worse, and for most local banks, it has. The Dalles-based Columbia River Bancorp swung to a loss in the second quarter, causing executives to bite the bullet with voluntary pay cuts and to shut down the bank’s mortgage business in September, eliminating 70 jobs.

That’s not the only bad news. Income is down and nonperforming assets are up for Cascade Bancorp of Bend and West Coast Bancorp of Lake Oswego. Premier West Bancorp of Medford and the largest bank headquartered in Oregon, Umpqua Holdings, are both paying the price for backing residential construction in California.

The chart above shows Sept. 2007-Sept. 2008 year-over-year drops in stock prices for the six major public banks headquartered in Oregon. Third-quarter results for 2008, due out in mid-October, will be closely studied for signs of improvement, such as the recent announcement by Umpqua that its residential real estate loans bucked the trend by increasing during the first half of 2008.         

BEN JACKLET


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